Jeanne D'Arc: her life and death eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 397 pages of information about Jeanne D'Arc.
En nom Dieu,” she cried, “they shall not be carried away.”  The march was stopped, the alarm given, the King unwillingly aroused once more from his slumbers.  Charles must have been disturbed at the most untimely hour by the ambassadors from the town, and it mattered little to his supreme indolence and indifference what might happen to his unfortunate lieges; but he was forced to bestir himself, and even to give something from his impoverished exchequer for the ransom of the prisoners, which must have been more disagreeable still.  The feelings of these men who would have been dragged away in captivity under the eyes of their victorious countrymen, but for the vigilance of the Maid, may easily be imagined.

Jeanne seems to have entered the town at once, to prepare for the reception of the King, and to take instant possession of the place, forestalling all further impediment.  The people in the streets, however, received her in a very different way from those of Orleans, with trouble and alarm, staring at her as at a dangerous and malignant visitor.  The Brother Richard, before mentioned, the great preacher and reformer, was the oracle of Troyes, and held the conscience of the city in his hands.  When he suddenly appeared to confront her, every eye was turned upon them.  But the friar himself was in no less doubt than his disciples; he approached her dubiously, crossing himself, making the sacred sign in the air, and sprinkling a shower of holy water before him to drive away the demon, if demon there was.  Jeanne was not unused to support the rudest accost, and her frank voice, still assez femme, made itself heard over every clamour.  “Come on, I shall not fly away,” she cried, with, one hopes, a laugh of confident innocence and good-humour, in face of those significant gestures and the terrified looks of all about her.  French art has been unkind to Jeanne, occupying itself very little about her till recently; but her short career is full of pictures.  Here the simple page grows bright with the ancient houses and highly coloured crowd:  the frightened and eager faces at every window, the white warrior in the midst, sending forth a thousand rays from the polished steel and silver of breastplate and helmet:  and the brown Franciscan monk advancing amid a shower of water drops, a mysterious repetition of signs.  It gives us an extraordinary epitome of the history of France at that period to turn from this scene to the wild enthusiasm of Orleans, its crowd of people thronging about her, its shouts rending the air; while Troyes was full of terror, doubt, and ill-will, though its nearest neighbour, so to speak, the next town, and so short a distance away.

A little later in the same day, the next after the surrender, Jeanne, riding with her standard by the side of the King, conducted him to the cathedral where he confirmed his previous promises and received the homage of the town.  It was a beautiful sight, the chronicle tells us, to see all these magnificent people, so well dressed and well mounted; “il feroit tres beau voir.

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Jeanne D'Arc: her life and death from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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